1962: Be Spoken To
CF + Melinda Smith, PhD Project 2014-17
1962: Be Spoken To, 2014–17.
Letterpress and screenprint on Magnani Avoria Vergata paper,
2 parts, handsewn in archival Tyvek ‘ghost bag’. Edition of 5.
505 x 357 x 14mm, 8 + 48pp.
Melinda worked with Caren on an iterative poetry collaboration from 2014 to 2017, based around the history of Australia’s first Parliament House in Canberra. The poems in this book draw from sources such as Hansard, various newspapers from 1962, photographs, signs around the building, and Wikipedia. Apart from the screenprinted framework, which acts as a series of architectural boundaries, all of the fonts and small details come from the metal and wood type in Caren’s letterpress workshop. The book is organised by months, and the calendar frieze at the footer is a data visualisation of the number of Parliamentary sitting days for that year. There is a commercial version of the poetry called Members Only, available from Recent Work Press.
Images on right are selections from the work.
Other projects with Melinda: Be Spoken To (2014-15); Secret Life (2014); Members Only (2017); and Red Language (2015- ).
Melinda Smith won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for her fourth book of poems, Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call. Her work has appeared widely in Australia and overseas. She was Poetry Editor of the Canberra Times from 2015 to mid-2017. Her latest collection, Goodbye Cruel, was published by Pitt St Poetry in 2017.